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Eugene Weekly : Letters : 10.27.11




BYPASS THE OGRES

I’ve been doing some reading about Occupy Wall Street and the confusion about “What do they want?” As the lead imagineer for the Eugene City of Peace, I can tell you that ending poverty, homelessness, and battlefield trauma are high on the local list of priorities.

The rapid growth of numbers in the Occupy movement indicates the degree of frustration and anger felt among us all. Although it seems that there will be blaming and demanding, the conversation is also about the need to localize economic and political power. The general assembly method of decision-making the occupiers are using is an opportunity to create a new culture of connection. Sustainable change will then come from formation of teams to make an “end run” around the rich and powerful ogres of the current system, to not oppose them but rise above them. 

I believe this movement will empower individuals to participate in proactive politics, affinity groups, social entrepreneurship or nonprofit activism; and the service performed for the sake of the common good will create an even larger network of friends. It will make occupation understandable to the mainstream, attractive, fun, simple, and productive of measurable results.

After all, as Jane Barry has said, what’s the point of the revolution if we can’t dance? 

David Hazen, Eugene



ON THE NEW KLCC

Make no mistake, my music-loving brothers and sisters, the KLCC we have grown to cherish is — well, they are zipping up the body bag as you read this. We are in danger of losing something increasingly rare and truly precious: the finest public radio station for music lovers on planet Earth! Really, this station had no equal. Not even close. Then the station was taken over by aliens who thought it should sound more … commercial, right about the time Don Hines took over. 

The next thing we knew, Tom Krumm and Liz Wise were having to say, “Hey! You’re listening to Fresh Tracks on KLCC” after every other song, all day long, as if we were all going senile and had to be reminded a couple of hundred times a day what station and program we were listening to. Then Earth Songs mysteriously disappeared. Then, out of the blue, less jazz. And then (hey!) the incredibly stupid Wait Wait. Don’t Tell Me! began airing twice per week, and so on. And once Fresh Tracks became too annoying to listen to seriously anymore, they just killed it and replaced it with talk, and then more talk. 

As hard as it is for me to imagine Downtown Deb saying, “Hey! You’re listening to Dead Air on KLCC” after every other song, or Cina Kroft having to say, “Hey! Welcome to the Heartwood Hotel on KLCC” every few minutes, you might want to at least entertain the idea that this is the direction KLCC seems to be heading. 

Save our station, or let it sink into oblivion. And don’t take the passive route. Sending emails or leaving a message on the alien’s voice mail does no good.The only way to save the KLCC we so dearly love is to call during pledge week and tell them that you will never support commercial-sounding radio, and either get back to the way things used to be, when music really mattered, or you won’t send them a dime. That might work.

David Kennedy, Florence



REFORM TAKES MONEY

All the reform in the world isn’t going to solve the basic problem of our state’s schools (cover story, 10/20). They have to have more money. It won’t come from real estate taxes and it won’t come from income tax. We’ve maxed out on those sources, either financially or politically. 

We have an opportunity in this state to solve the problem with a sales tax that is dedicated only to education. It can solve education problems and other money matters in the state. Yes, it is a regressive tax and it is hard on the poor. So is an inadequate education. We will never solve the poverty problem as long as our education problem is lacking in money. Once there is money, we can do all sorts of reform in education. Talk to me about it. bcassidy@efn.org

Bob Cassidy, Eugene



LAMBE NEEDS TO GO

As a former member and president of the Emerald People’s Utility District Board of Directors between 1981 and 1994, I continue to be disappointed as to what has happened in the last 10 years. The latest was pointed out in Claire Miller’s letter Sept. 10 in The Register-Guard regarding our manager Frank Lambe’s disregard for public meetings laws.

Our board President Patti Chappel had an ethics violation filed against her. The Ethics Commission could not find Chappel in violation due to a lack of board minutes; however, they indicated that open meetings laws had been violated. Later Miller’s letter indicates that she was able to get a copy of some recorded board minutes where Lambe said, “The problem is we didn’t get rid of them (the recordings)soon enough.” This is reminding me of the Nixon tapes, which might have lead to his impeachment. What else is being hidden?

We the people have a need to know what is happening with our vital electrical power resource. It is basically a monopoly and what they charge we must pay. The board was elected to watch out after our best interests, and to hire a general manager who will serve us. If in doubt, the majority of the board has the power to change the management. I believe the time is way past due. Act now before more irreparable damage is done! Contact your board director and request that they demand the resignation of the general manager.

Ron Davis, Cottage Grove



 SPEEDING DUCKS

 Speed is a prime commodity for Ducks football backs this fall. Trouble is, some don’t seen to know how to harness it for use on the gridiron instead of the highway. An all-American defensive back was arrested for driving 118 mph. Now a runningback who is counted on to fill in for the injured LaMichael James is arrested for driving 85 mph.

In both cases, the arrests revealed the players turn out to be quite slow in a related area. Neither had paid fines for a series of previous traffic arrests. In the first case, the player was suspended from playing in one game, the opener — a small price for a crime that could have endangered lives of any of us who might have been on the roadway at the same time. If the second does not get a suspension, the reason will be clear. The Ducks feel they cannot afford to be without him when he is needed to play in place of James.

The public needs protection from such dangerous, habitual behavior. High-speed arrests that climaxed the traffic law-breaking for both should have resulted in both players being suspended for the season. It is clear that arbitrariness is what governs Oregon football’s meaningless sense of justice and punishment. 

 George Beres, Eugene



NO PEASANTS

The other day I was riding my bicycle through my northeast Eugene neighborhood as I often do. 

Dozens of lawn signs had sprouted overnight like poison autumn mushrooms. The signs say “Wrong Project, Wrong Place.” What they mean is “Peasants Keep Out!” I’m not religious but even I know Jesus will judge us by how we treat the least of his brethren.

Ramona McCall, Eugene



ECONOMIC RIGHTS

I participated in the Occupy Eugene march recently and with my own eyes could clearly see that people from every walk of life make up the 99 percent. These patriotic citizens want what one of our greatest presidents wanted. Franklin Roosevelt felt that a second “economic” bill of rights was necessary to meet the needs of a rapidly growing nation and “to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.” He believed that freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence and stated that “Necessitous men are not free men. People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.” 

Most of these rights are those which the 99 percent are asking for all our citizens, such as the right to: a useful and remunerative job; earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation; adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health; adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident and unemployment; a good education; and the right of every family to a decent home.

So for those who seek to dismiss these occupiers, marchers and protesters, think about what Roosevelt said: “All of these rights spell security. America’s own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for all our citizens. For unless there is security here at home there cannot be lasting peace in the world.”

Christopher Michaels, Eugene



REVERSE GROWTH

Eugene’s City Council should vote to maintain the existing urban growth boundary and to not spend heavily on freeways, instead focusing on making the city more bikeable and walkable. The goal of reducing fossil fuel use 50 percent by 2030 will achieve itself. The U.S. peaked in oil extraction in 1970, natural gas in 1973, and producible energy from coal in 1998. According to the IEA, world oil production peaked in 2006, and oil use is now down 10 percent in OECD nations. According to the Export Land Model, our oil imports will be cut off by 2020.

“Shale gas” is a chimera; its EROEI (energy returned on energy invested) and flow rate are lower than tar sands. According to David Huges, one of Canada’s top geologists, “there may be 100 years of methane, but it may take 800 years to produce.” We’ll be lucky if we’re using half the fossil fuels in 2030.

“Renewables” are an absolute economic and engineering disaster. Even hydro, which provides Eugene with 70 percent of its electricity, is declining due to global warming and silt. According to a new MIT study on the future of nuclear power after Fukushima, fast reactors will not become our primary energy source until 2065. This means that over the next 50 years, there will be a permanent depression of austerity and joblessness. The era of economic growth and population growth is now officially over, and we must adjust our thinking to reflect this new reality. “Conservation” by reversing growth is the only way out.

Zachary Moitoza, Eugene



OTTO’S MONUMENT

On a site more suited to puffins and cormorants, offering stunning vistas of coastline and cliffside from above and below, Eugene architect Otto Poticha intends to erect a monument to his ego (“Coastal House Controversy,” 10/6). As such it’s sure to be a sizable project.

Because he’s obtained the necessary county approval, Poticha believes, or would have us believe, that this somehow validates his imposition of a dwelling in the Significant Shoreline Combining Zone on a coastline already top-heavy and eyesore with vacation homes, resorts and motels. To the objection of LandWatch Lane County — a nonprofit with 16 years experience working with land-use laws emasculated by development interests and the planners and politicians serving as their enablers — Poticha ventured the petulant and insulting retort, “I guess one can say ‘Let’s not build anywhere.’”

Actually, one can say that someone less burdened by hubris and arrogance than Poticha and possessed of even a modicum of humility and compassion would find it unthinkable to wedge a structure into the ecologically significant and aesthetically pleasing rock face on the west side of 101. Alas, like death and taxes, the Potichas will always be with us. The chief affliction of the common good, though, comes not only from inflated egos, but from the agencies that allow them to grow.

To help save what’s left of Lane County’s beleaguered landscape, those occupying the Wayne Morse Free Speech Platform outside would do well to turn their attention inside the building to the corruption residing in the commissioners’ conference room and the offices of the Land Management Division.

Robert Emmons, Fall Creek



WORTHY BRAINS

Thanks for the multiple articles in the Oct. 6 issue about biking in Eugene. I was in Amsterdam last month, and you’re right on about the similarity. I do wish you had used pictures of riders with helmets on the front cover and for the article about getting around Eugene without car. The asphalt is a lot harder than one’s head. How valuable are our brains, anyhow? For all the UO students: If your brain is worthy of a college education, doesn’t it also rate a helmet to protect that gray matter? 

Marilyn Lowe, Eugene



SHAMEFUL CLOSURE

The recent closure of the Boys and Girls Club due to lack of money is more than just shameful. As a positive, safe, and healthy place, the club has provided supervised programs and activities that not only keep kids engaged and out of trouble, but served as the only responsible option for many working parents. Those parents are now left with no choice but to leave their young kids with a house key and the hope that things will be okay until the adults get home from work.

If this were a contentious political campaign, hundreds of thousands of dollars would have been raised for a cause or candidate. I hope that enough money can be raised to reopen the Boys and Girls Club. Surely Eugene wants to show other cities that it has its priorities straight.

Les Weinstein, Eugene



IS IT TRUE?

Too many questions! Why is a public utility having a secret contract? What is the cost to ratepayers for Seneca’s inefficient and dirty electricity production that we don’t need? Is it true that Seneca is already cutting down trees to make pulp for burning into electricity? Is it really more than 200,000 tons of CO2 annually that Seneca will produce that will increase climate change? When can we elect new EWEB directors? 

Ruth Duemler, Eugene



HERE AND GONE

The suckability of the Bijou Cinema is that the best films come and go very quickly. Their publicity is lame and the EW reviews, without Lois Wadsworth, are amateur, self-aggrandizing and without social value. I am shocked at how many of the great films I see are underattended and play for only a week. Unless you’re paying close attention, they are here and gone before many people realize it. And that wastes the Bijou’s limited resources, as well.

Case in point: Gus Van Sant’s beautiful film Restless (shot in Portland) came and went in a week without fanfare. To be replaced this week by Miranda July’s new film The Future. Miranda is one of the emerging young filmmaker/artists that define their generation, and we all should pay attention. Like Van Sant, she did some of her coming up in Portland.

The Bijou seems lost in the ocean, undecided which way it wants to swim. A tendency is to play to the college crowd with quirky late-night offerings and it dosen’t have the time to promote the world-class cinema slipping past its projectors. EW reviewers would rather exhibit their version of critical erudition than help anyone decide why they might want to see the film. Any more, they prefer to review the big theater, Hollywood offerings at the Cineplex, anyway.

There is no excuse for booking, exhibiting and then failing to adequately publicize their films. Anyway, go see The Future before it and the Bijou are gone!

Loren Sears, Eugene



DEFAZIO NOT HELPING

As an ardent past supporter who is now openly critical of Rep. Peter DeFazio’s recent diatribe against President Obama, as well as his vote with Republicans against the stimulus and other bills, I had to laugh at his explanation for his unseemly behavior (cover story, 10/13). “I’m trying to help. He has to succeed. Democrats have to succeed so we don’t wind up with someone like (Texas Gov. Rick) Perry as president.” So railing against Obama is helping? 

Recently I read an article in which DeFazio was named as an example of Democrats who do not support Obama. This article was intended to encourage Republicans. I suggest that DeFazio’s poor excuse of an explanation is simply an ill-conceived strategy to try to pull disenchanted supporters back into his circle of donors, while his behavior seems to indicate that he will say whatever he can to appeal to conservatives and grumpy liberals in the Fourth Congressional District. Personally speaking, he will have to do a lot more to show his support for President Obama and the Democratic party agenda before this extremely grumpy liberal will return to the fold.

Kathleen Epstein, Eugene



BE NICE TO COPS

I find it quite sad when I pick up a local newspaper to find more than a few articles and letters criticizing our own local police officers.

What everyone needs to realize is that police officers are human beings just like us, living daily lives. They are mothers, fathers, sons and daughters, trying to provide for their families. They put their own lives on the line in order to keep other mothers, fathers, sons and daughters safe from drunk drivers, robbers, killers and any other threat that may hurt an innocent person.

I was proud to hear such a supporting response from our community when such a cruel incident happened within our own community, the shooting of Chris Kilcullen. It was a devastating loss within the police force, and so many people showed their support, and viewed him for what he really is, a hero.

What I wish for all of us is to view every police officer everyday like we do Chris Kilcullen. Let’s continue to show our support to such brave people and not criticize their every decision and their every move, and appreciate their efforts to keep us safe.

Chelsea Stevens, Eugene

 

 

PULSING RADIATION

EWEB’s talking about changing our analog meters for wireless, so-called “smart meters.” These meters use radio frequency radiation to transmit and receive information. This is the same type of radiation that the World Health Organization now classifies as a possible carcinogen.

People across the country are protesting the installation of these meters. Over 40 local governments in California are banning them. There are reports of people feeling ill after smart meters were placed on their residences. Respected, independent research scientists are speaking out against these meters.

Proponents of smart meters will tell you that it is the same wireless technology that is in your cell phone. True. But unlike cell phones, you can’t turn them off. Proponents will tout the limited amount of time in a day a meter is actually transmitting. What isn’t explained is that the meter is pulsing on and off throughout the day — putting out a very intense spike of radiation about every five seconds. This pulsing action is of particular concern to scientists in terms of potential harmful health effects.

 Could we in Eugene step back from this idea until we can be assured these meters are safe?

Sarah Wylie

Eugene



"No Car? No Problem" Additions

I just read, with interest, the article "No Car? No Problem" by Andy Valentine (10/6). With the every increasing number of students attending the UO, many from outside Oregon, this article should have been more informative. Some examples include;

1. LTD — How about including a list of the main routes serving the university, LTD's website address, and a location on campus where students can obtain a paper copy of bus schedules.

2, Bicycles. Eugene is nothing like Amsterdam in terms of bicycles. Amsterdam is a city of one million people and 600,000 bicycles, with specialized bike lanes (elevated above roadway) that include separate traffic signals. Eugene probably wishes it was like Amsterdam, in terms of multiple modes of public transportation (trains, trolleys and buses), bike and pedestrian friendly lanes, and citizens who rigorously follow traffic laws. How about including for the new students the names of some of our excellent bike shops, where they can purchase bike locks, rain gear, etc., as well as picking up a copy of the Oregon Bicyclist Manual.

3. Oregon's Rules of the Road. How about including details on how to handle bike lanes, bike boxes at intersections, or just warn them about our goofy left-turn-on-red-after-stop law, so they don't end up as road kill.

This article should have been much better. I know you are pressed for space but this only scratched the surface. Thanks for allowing me to vent.

Stephen M. Clarke

Eugene



CLEAN HOUSE FIRST

In response to the Viewpoint Oct. 6 on “A New Mental Health Hospital?” First, does it really take someone with social ties to bring recognition of verbal abuse to a patient at the Oregon State Hospital (OSH) in Salem? What is happening to our system when the very people who get into the human services industry turn their backs on the basic code of ethics? 

Second, Charlie Wright’s story about the young man “committed” at OSH for yelling at a group still has 10 more years! Is OSH a prison or a place where a person, less fortunate that the average Joe, can get proper help? Oh yeah, come to find out this young man was not taking his meds. How is a psychiatric patient supposed to be responsible for taking his pills?

Finally, it seems obvious to me that if you want to build something that will last we must first focus on a strong foundation. Instead of building two new facilities why not fix the existing ones and start by cleaning house. Given the current unemployment rate I’m sure that there are many compassionate professionals that would love to compete for those positions. $280 million is a great wage incentive budget, don’t ya think? 

Thanks to EW for bringing awareness to this issue. 

Dena Trinity

Springfield



KILL THE PROBLEM? 

Recent attacks on livestock by wolves are in the news. Is this supposed to be a surprise to people? Maybe we should write a story on how humans breathe oxygen. If people are so bothered by local wolves killing livestock why don’t they do something about it? That something would not being to kill the problem, but maybe find somewhere for them to go that wouldn’t be an issue for anyone or anything.

It was stated that the pack used to have 16 wolves, and is now reduced to two. They are classified as endangered species, and cows aren’t. The common sense factor kicks in to save which of the two choices of animals? I hope I am not alone in thinking this is slightly outrageous, but then again I am writing about cows and wolves.

Personally, I’ve learned that Oregon is wonderful with being “green” and recycling and not polluting, a very conservative place. Recycling wolves should not be acceptable to such a place, you’d think. It’s understood that livestock is important to the owner and the consumers, but the owner didn’t even take any measures to avoid such a “tragedy.” We’re smart people and we can find a solution that does not include killing an animal that is doing only what its instincts are telling it to do.

Coty Korhonen, Springfield



DEATH THREATS

The recent threats to the Imnaha pack are representative of the challenges facing the recovery of all Oregon wolves. It is unthinkable that the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife wants to kill two more wolves in Oregon’s first wolf pack in the state in over 60 years after a few livestock losses, at least one of which was due to negligence on the rancher’s part. There are approximately one dozen wolves in Oregon today compared to over one million cows. That is a large discrepancy to be splitting hairs over! As evidenced by the underhanded timing of the press release informing advocacy groups and the general public of the plan to kill two more members of the pack, the ODFW seems less interested in protecting wolves than in protecting their public image. 

Your article (9/29) helps to raise public awareness of this troublingly undercovered issue; the disappearance of wolves just as they are beginning to make a comeback would disrupt the Oregon ecosystem in ways we cannot yet predict. This is more than just a matter of preventing the death of a pack of wolves, although it is certainly that too. More articles of this nature will help to spread the word and increase public awareness of this important issue. Thanks for the good work!

Zoe Weiss, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Oregon Court of Appeals Oct. 6 issued a temporary injunction against ODFW from allowing the killing the alpha male and another wolf from the Imnaha Pack.



IFS, ANDS AND BUTTS

If cigarette butts are the number one littered item in the world, as Joshua Welch claims in his Viewpoint argument (10/13), they still are not anywhere near the forefront of my mind when I walk around downtown, even if I am in the mood to find things to worry about. The hordes of climate-changing private automobiles, which I also overuse, and the general consumer mania of this country seem far more pressing issues than cigarette butts and litter, and issues we can personally do something about. The packaging we send to the landfill every day dwarfs cigarette butt litter as a serious problem, even though channeled politically correctly and not littered.

Welch’s column rings a little too shrill for my taste with its suggestion of blitzes against cigarette butt litterers, but litterer snitches and an attitude of puritanical intolerance. Sure, a world free of visible cigarette butts would be preferable, but I’m not losing sleep worrying about it. There are other serious problems that claim that place of dishonor. And I am more worried about cigarette smokers’ future health, some of whom are friends, than about their butts.

John Hicks, Eugene



EIGHT ON ONE

Saturday night around 1 am a friend and I were screaming through campus on our bikes on the way to downtown. After passing two parked DPS vehicles on University Street, I made the left onto 13th to find two other idle DPS vehicles parked next to each other talking (or whatever it is that they do). Immediately I was stopped by one of the vehicles that I was biking up to and instantly surrounded by four DPS SUVs and eight "officers" total. 

The one who stopped me from the front informed me that I didn't have a rear bike light (which has previously fallen off on the ride due to poor mounting/installer incompetence). I got off my bike to see where the missing bike light had been and was immediately treated with hostility. Apparently he (the "officer") believed that I was reaching for a weapon or trying to escape or who knows what and raised his voice to get me to comply and get back on the bike. I was compliant and did what I was told and explained that I had left the house with a bike light so their allegations of me riding without one was as astounding to me as my action of getting off my bike to check and see was to them. 

After asking if this conversation was being recorded and the inquiring officer's name and bond number, their tone completely changed. As if they believed that no one would ever ask these "officers" about information regarding their officiality and accountability for their actions on and around campus. 

After slightly more harassment, which I wasn't about to stand around and take, I was allowed to leave with a warning and not an official citation. Bottom line is that campus seems to have too many idle "officers" itching to use their weapons because eight on one for a missing rear bike light is costing taxpayers money to employ "cowboys," and students' tuition to be harassed by less than friendly "public servants" of "public safety." Someone needs to scare one of these "uniforms" so they know how it feels.

Nick Sminslo, Eugene